9.2 Explain the meaning of curriculum change and the possible reasons for curriculum change.
Meaning of Curriculum Change
What is curriculum change? Whereas curriculum change is generally defined as the transformation of the curriculum scheme- for example its design, goals and content, we need to realize that with every curriculum change there needs to be clarifications about the parameters of the change. Educators need to be cautious in adopting curriculum change definitions that describe curriculum change as the entire transformation of the curriculum (Hooper, 1971).
Curriculum changes all over the world do not occur in isolation but depend on other factors within and outside the education sector of the economy. Stakeholder politics in education determine the general direction and quality of any system of education. As stated by Apple (2001) stakeholder politics pose a great challenge to the various stakeholders, in mooting ways of being accommodated to participate in policy construction.
Resistance to curriculum change is not a new phenomenon. According to Hooper (1971) such resistance to curriculum change comes about as a result of people’s misconceptions about change. Many education stakeholders do not understand the concept of curriculum change, its process and values. The curriculum change managers who are supposed to sensitize and guide them into realization of success have also failed to create systems that support curriculum change.
Curriculum change can occur at three levels-minor, medium and major. Minor changes may comprise of re-arrangement of the sequence of the subject content or learning activities or just the addition of one topic or method to the instructional program. Medium changes may include an innovation like integration of subjects, a new subject or a new approach to the existing subject. Major changes will affect many aspects of the curriculum, for example content, methods approaches, materials; subtracting or adding to what already exists. There could also be changes in the conceptual design and organization calling for new planning (Shiundu & Omulando, 1992).
Reasons for Curriculum Change
There will never be perfect curriculum for all ages. The environment keeps on changing and this creates new needs in the society, the curriculum has to change continuously to address these needs. Since the school is a social system serving the society, changes in the society will definitely provoke changes in the school curriculum. Consequently, changes in the community, its population, and professional staff need to be reflected in the related changes in the school curriculum as they directly alter the learner’s needs, interests and attitudes. Therefore, the main aim of curriculum change is to improve learning (Bondi. &Wiles, 1998).
In addition, educational change is among the variety of social changes. In itself, it is a function of change in the society. This contends with the view of education as an agent for social change. In this case curriculum change is necessary for broader changes in the society.